DOE projects brownout-free election scenario

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The Department of Energy (DOE) said that there would be sufficient power supply — particularly in Luzon — for the national and local elections on May 9, 2022.

Based on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ projections, which the DOE presented before the media on Tuesday, no Yellow or Red Alerts are expected to be issued on the week of the polls.

However, the outlook hasn’t taken into account other relevant factors, such as forced plant outages, possible extensions of planned plant shutdowns, and production restrictions from the Malampaya gas field.

The estimated net reserve for the said period is below the dispatchable reserve (DR) line (blue line in photo above) of around 1,785 megawatts (MW). The DR and the contingency reserve (CR) for the Luzon Grid, both currently at 647MW each, match that of Luzon’s largest generator in the Sual coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan.

A Yellow Alert is declared once net reserves fall below the CR line (yellow line in photo above). Meanwhile, a Red Alert is declared once the net reserves go below the regulating reserve, which for Luzon is usually at 491MW, or four percent of the grid’s peak demand.

Conducted in an automated manner since 2010, the elections fall within the second quarter, wherein electricity demand peaks and multiple power plants trip. To recall, Red and Yellow Alerts were issued in Luzon back in May and June due to the forced shutdown of several plants.

Energy Usec. Felix William Fuentebella likewise hinted at possible delays in plant maintenance activities due to the restricted entry of foreign consultants, as well as of equipment and spare parts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdowns.

While he said that the DOE is “closely coordinating” with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Immigration, and other relevant government agencies, he stressed that the delays are not on the part of his department.

“The endorsement of the DOE is already there, pero nagkakaroon pa rin ng delay. So, ‘yun yung kailangang ma-address,” Fuentebella remarked.